Monday, March 30, 2009

MK Barakah calls Beit Hanoun on Land Day; urges continued struggle

Date: 30 / 03 / 2009 Time: 17:27

Gaza – Ma’an – Palestinian Knesset member Muhammad Barakah spoke to Beit Hanoun Land Day commemorators over the phone Monday, and encouraged them to continue their struggle for autonomy.

“We are struggling in a battle to prove our existence and to protect our confiscated lands,” Barakah told large crowds in the northern Gaza Strip town. He called for unity in the face of the latest Israeli policies to demolish homes in East Jerusalem and the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Coordinator of the local initiative Saber Az-Za’anin called on ralliers to “remember those people who sacrificed their souls defending the nation and the land in A`rrabeh, Sakhnin and other Galilee areas: Khadija Shawahneh, Raja Abu Rayya, Muhsen Taha, Khader Khalaileh, Kher Yasin and Ra’fat Zuhdy.”

He thanked all who participated in the event, including several foreign peace activists, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) as well as dozens of local and charitable societies.

Land Day 09 Beit Hanoun

A Palestinian farmer seriously injured by Israeli soldiers south of Gaza

Gaza, March 30, 2009 (RAMATTAN) – The Israeli army shot wounded on Monday a Palestinian citizen in the northern of Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources said.

A Palestinian health official told RAMATTAN that a Palestinian was seriously injured as the Israeli soldiers opened fire against a group of Palestinian farmers north of Gaza.

After the end of Israel's 23-day offensive on Gaza two months ago, the Israeli army frequently violates the fragile ceasefire in Gaza and targets the Palestinian farmers, fishermen and the tunnels along the borderline between Gaza and Egypt.

posted in Al Mezan website on 30-3-2009

IOF Shoots Palestinian in Eastern Beit Hanoun

At app. 7.30am, on 30 March 2009, the IOF opened fire at a group of young men who were close to the borderline in Al M'ghayir area, in the east of Beit Hanoun town. One Palestinian was injured and was reported to have sustained moderate injuries.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Speaking Truth to Power

Posted on the ISM webpage on: March 21, 2009

Sharon Lock | Tales to Tell

We were back at Faraheen this morning accompanying farmers again, eying the jeeps driving along the Israeli border while our farmers removed the irrigation pipes from one of the fields we have visited regularly. Since Mohammed was shot in the leg, the farmer here has decided to give up on this field, its convenient well, and its half-grown parsley crop - 200,000 shekels worth - in case of further injury or death of harvesters. It was a quiet morning, thank goodness.

Tristan is conscious and was breathing on his own until he caught pneumonia. He has a long way to go and it’s not known what will be ahead - for sure, more surgery, including on his damaged right eye.

A second time this week we spotted an Israeli gun boat travelling at 3 miles from the shoreline, all the way from near Deira Balah to Gaza city (it kept pace with our shared taxi) as fishermen were out trying to get in a catch in, and inevitably the next day we heard that a fisherman had been shot; Deeb Al Ankaa who we understand to now be in Kamal Odwan hospital.

I met a great Manchester guy this week, Dr Sohail of MIST (Medical International Surgical Team) who has come here to do good work with peoples’ bones, for example working with amputees who have had limbs removed at a high point, to enable the otherwise impossible attachment of prosthetic limbs. (If Israel lets the prosthetics through the border, which apparently is another problem of the siege.)

Thinking about bones, I immediately thought of Wafa. After wincing at the picture of her in hospital the day after soldiers shot out her kneecap, Dr Sohail said “I’m a kneecap man!” and told me a series of incomprehensible surgical things he might be able to do to give her back some movement. We rang her family today while standing in the Faraheen field (it’s a good time to get your phone-calling done) to say that Dr Sohail will see her in June if I go and take a photo of her medical records for him beforehand.

Dr Sohail spoke of the several limitations medical people are under here - mostly no access to the latest equipment - if any gets in, no access to training on how to use it - and of course very little of the ongoing training amongst their international peers that people doing tricky surgical things need to have.

In the last days there have been renewed calls for an International Criminal Court investigation into war crimes in Gaza, including for example “white flag killings” by Israeli soldiers. One of the big problems that have got in the way are that during the attacks, there were no forensic pathologists in Gaza trained to a level that would meet the requirements. (They are trying to send some people outside for training now, ready for the next time…) A second big problem is that when the International Criminal Court representatives tried to get in through Rafah to investigate the situation, Egypt refused to let them through, so they missed the February 8 deadline for submitting evidence.

And it was never going to be easy. Here is an example. One of the Al Quds Red Crescent medics talked about getting through to some of the surviving Samouni kids trapped with dead adults, on the first Red Cross/Red Crescent evacuation permitted by Israel. He said the kids (who they found in circumstances that left some of the medics who reached them, traumatised themselves) said the adults had been shot, and they had covered over the bodies themselves.

The medics knew it was important to try to take the adults’ bodies out, but the children were starving, dehydrated, and in a state of collapse. Since Israel had not permitted the medics to take ambulances, and several miles had to be covered, the medics found a donkey cart for the children. The Red Cross asked Israel to be allowed to take a donkey to pull the cart, but Israel said no.

My medic friend says: “We put the children on the donkey cart and pulled it ourselves, hurrying to get out before 4pm which was the deadline for the evacuation. And there was no room for the bodies. So a lot of time passed before those bodies could be retrieved, and while we have the verbal testimony of the children, we don’t have an early medical assessment of the adults bodies.”

I was called in to PressTV to give an interview today about what I witnessed myself, and it turned out this is because Israeli soldiers have themselves started to admit some of what went on, in the Israeli press today. This has been covered by the TimesOnline, and the International Middle East Media Centre. It includes an anonymous solider who ’says that he was told “we should kill everyone there (Gaza). Everyone there is a terrorist.”‘

Thursday, March 19, 2009

OCHA report 11-17/3/2009:

This is an extract from OCHA weekly report (11-17/3/2009) published on 19th of March.

Gaza Strip Update

Palestinian casualties

In various violent incidents during the
reporting period, the Israeli military injured
four Palestinian civilians, compared to six
civilians injured during the previous period.
Among those civilians injured this week
were two farmers, one fisherman and
another man injured during an incursion east
of Rafah. A total of ten Palestinians have
been killed and 40 others injured in Israeli-
Palestinian violence since the ceasefires
declared on 18 January 2009.

Restrictions on access to land and sea

Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to land
and sea inside the Gaza Strip continues to
severely damage livelihoods. These restrictions
include access of farmers to their land located
in the north and east along the border with
Israel, and access of fishermen to fishing areas
beyond three nautical miles from the shore.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Human rights workers to accompany farmers in Gaza

Posted on the ISM webpage: March 18, 2009

For Immediate Release

8am, Thursday 19th March 2009: Seven international Human Rights Workers (HRWs) will be accompanying Palestinian farmers in Al Basan Kabira, Al Faraheen, East of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip.
HRWs from Britain, Australia and Canada will be accompanying farmers on their lands 500m from the ‘Green Line’ as they attempt to retrieve irrigation pipes.

Palestinian farmers have been repeatedly been shot at by Israeli forces while working on their agricultural lands within 1km from the ‘Green Line’.

On the 18th February 2009 international HRWs witnessed the shooting of 20 year old Mohammad Il Ibrahim by Israeli forces. Mohammad was shot in the leg as he was loading parsley onto a truck approximately 550m from the Green Line. The farmers and internationals had been working for two hours in full view of the Israeli forces and were leaving the area at the time of shooting.
Mohammed al-Buraim is the fourth Palestinian farmer to be shot by Israeli forces in the ‘buffer zone’ in the last two months. Two of the four farmers shot died from their wounds.

On the 18th January 2009, 24 year old Maher Abu Rajileh from the village of Khoza’a was killed by Israeli forces while working his agricultural lands 400m from the Green Line. On the 27th January, Anwar al Buraim was shot in the neck by Israeli forces.

On 20 January, Israeli soldiers shot Waleed al-Astal (42) of Al Qarara (near Khan Younis) in his right foot.

Updated on March 19, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

PCHR: Palestinian civilian wounded in Central Gaza Strip, east of Al Maghazi

This is an extract of PCHR weekly report No. 10/2009 05- 11 March 2009

Tuesday, 10 March

At approximately 15:30, IOF troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip fired at Palestinian houses in the camp. As a result, Muhannad Sehi Abu Mandil, 24, was wounded by a gunshot to the left foot.